Posts Tagged ‘self worth’


July 21, 2012


Deflecting compliments

March 5, 2011

“Your mother tells me you’re a very hard-working student.” A parent of my mom’s student said to me after we were introduced.

“Really? That’s weird.” I say dryly. I resist the temptation to follow it up with ‘I hear your son isn’t.‘ even though it might not be true. When people say things like that to me I just hear “My child is lazy and doesn’t do well at anything, I wish they actually cared about something.” Actually, I wonder why I always hear that in my head? Oh! I know, because I’ve actually heard those very words from a parent before. Talk about uncomfortable. Whoo hooo now I know why your kid doesn’t come home for dinner.

I waited a few beats then politely continued the conversation with something like, “She’s a great teacher, if you don’t already know. How long has your son been working with her?”

Usually by the end of the conversation they reiterate whatever they mentioned in the begining. Mature/honest/hard-working/polite/intelegent, whatever. At which point I say “Well, it was nice meeting you. I hope you do well in (insert thing they mentioned earlier.) Sorry but I’ve got to go to read… uh, War and Peace… or something.”

Why doesn’t my mother ever mention my sarcastic qualities?

(But really, what reason do you have for telling me I smell nice or have poise, other than a) you’re a weirdo or b) you want something from me? Compliment my earrings like a normal person.)

But yes! back to the topic. I used to be very very uncomfortable with compliments. We’re talking physical discomfort here. Shame, guilt, and this strange slowing-down-of-the-heartbeat thing. Then I’d be more uncomfortable because I knew I was over reacting.

At it’s worst, I felt unworthy of everything, like I deserved to be miserable. I didn’t even fell I deserved to eat. Why? I don’t even remember anymore. I honestly don’t.

It’s strange to think that something I almost lost my life over was so trivial that I have forgotten it. And I did lose my life. I just happened to also get it back.

Some of the time I didn’t think it dangerous, but I was making myself very sick. Other times I thought I was going to die but really I was just delusional. At some clear moment between severe mood swings, I knew that if I didn’t kill myself it was very possible I’d end up in a hospital someplace for a few weeks or months only to crawl home and land in another one six months later. That wasn’t what I wanted for my life, even though I didn’t want anything to do with consciousness.

It’s strange to be living in a life where the stakes aren’t that high anymore. It’s not life a or death situation anymore, it’s just life. Which come to think of it might be just as important.

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